“He who gathers in summer is a wise son; he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.”
It’s plain to see from this and other proverbs that farming was the primary
way people earned their living in Bible times. That’s far different than where
we’re at today!
For the farmer, there’s only one time to bring in a crop, during
harvest time. You can’t harvest after planting, while it’s growing, or months
after the harvest. If the farmer in Old Testament times didn’t harvest his produce
at the right time, he’d lose everything he worked for and would have nothing to
What would you think of someone who invested time and money into a business
venture and then when it was time to reap the fruits, he let it all go to waste
because he was sleeping? What a fool! How shameful!
You must work diligently (v. 4) and at the right time (v. 5). If you don’t, you have only yourself to blame. Being lazy, slack, negligent, and idle are moral and spiritual issues. These proverbs address your responsibilities in life, not accidents or things that are out of your control. Too many make a fuss about what is or isn’t fair, but what are you doing to work and meet your needs?
How much effort do you put into “harvest” time? It
is hard work, but the Lord gives the increase; praise him for such and roll up
Is there a time to “sleep”? How well will you
sleep if you have nothing to live on?
From this proverb, what must you do to be wise?
To be foolish?
“He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”
The previous two proverbs emphasized how the Lord provides for the
needs of the righteous; this and the next proverb show what’s required on your
part (see also one of Solomon’s fatherly talks about this, Prov 6:6–11).
A “slack hand” is a figure of speech, with “hand” referring to your
actions, what you do. Combined with “slack” (idle, lazy) the picture is someone
who’s hands aren’t doing anything but leaning on the shovel watching the day go
by or folded in the lap while dozing away. Don’t presume that you can just sit
around and wait for God to provide because he is gracious and giving. Poverty
is the sure end of those who refuse to work.
In contrast to the slacker is the “hand of the diligent,” one who works hard and steadily. There isn’t anything flashy about steady, earnest, sweaty, day-after-day work, but that is God’s will and how he provides for your needs (cf. also Eph 4:28; 1 Thess 4:11–12; 2 Thess 3:12). Believers must pray for their daily bread and work hard for it!
Being lazy isn’t something you have to learn, it is the natural tendency of your sin nature. How can you put that to death and put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Col 3:5a)?
Would others say you are a hard worker? Are you?
Pray the Lord helps you to be more diligent and less of a slacker! Start doing so now!
“The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish, but He casts away the desire of the wicked.”
This follows up on the previous proverb. In Old Testament times God blessed Israelites who lived righteous lives, but He brought trouble on those who were wicked (Deut 28).
Note the name of God here, the LORD, the God of the covenant who shows His mercy to Israel. What the Lord promised in his covenant to Israel he would accomplish and bring to pass, both the blessing and the curse.
The righteous may view their circumstances as dire and hopeless, as
victims of circumstances, ground under the wheels of life. The Lord would not allow that. God is not bound by circumstances but is
Lord over them. He works through such, even allowing the righteous to suffer so
they will call on him and seek him, lean on and trust in him rather than
themselves or something else.
Never worry about the essential things of life but seek the Lord and live and do what he has said you should do (cf. Matt 6:33). This doesn’t mean be lazy and just sit and wait for God’s provision (see vv. 4–5!). Rather, the whole idea of being righteous is conforming to God’s character in life (here, “soul”) and demonstrating such by whole-souled obedience to him. Thus, rather than a presumptuous laziness, the righteous exercise confident labor. They work hard, knowing the Lord will not allow them to famish but will meet their needs.
In contrast to this, no matter what the wicked may desire, God the
righteous judge dismisses such entirely and completely (“casts away”).
It’s easy to evaluate by externals—“so-and-so has everything, God must have blessed them!” Why is this wrong?
From this proverb, what’s really the most important thing? Is that the most important thing to you?
From this proverb, what is the real reason your needs are met?
Who—what—do you ultimately trust for your daily, essential needs?
Prov 10:2—”Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.”
From an external perspective it seems the more money you have, the
better condition you’re in. It seems that in this world riches are most
important, morality—not so much.
God your Creator says otherwise. He says that gaining wealth by
illegal, sinful, or otherwise dishonest means is a waste, living only for the
moment, failing to take the long look. In other words, if you’re not living for
unending eternity, you’re living for the soon-to-pass present (cf. 1 John
2:15-17). It might indeed be a treasure, but if it’s gained by wickedness it’s
worthless. How much did treasures help Belshazzar in Daniel 5:1–30 or the rich
man in Luke 16:19–31?
In contrast to this is righteousness, conforming to God’s character and will. When you live to be and do right by God’s character and commands, that shows you’re in the narrow way that leads to life. Be sure of this: you don’t have eternal life because you’re doing right. Salvation from sin comes by relying on Christ alone for forgiveness of sins. But if you are on the narrow road leading to life, your life will be “righteous,” consistent with God’s character and commands.
All kinds of thought and effort go into gaining wealth by wickedness;
how much thought and effort do you put into living a life characterized by
righteousness? Don’t evaluate life by what you can see (or count), make
decisions and judgments by God’s character and commands. Character is more
important than currency, godliness then gold, faithfulness than followers.
What is the focus, aim, and desire of your life?
Compare Matt 6:25–34.
How important is money to you? What will that do
for you 100 years from now?
What do you view as valuable and important? How will
that “weigh” on God’s balance scale?
What you live for tells and teaches others what
you think is most important. What is your life telling and teaching?
10:1—”A wise son makes a glad father, but a
foolish son is the grief of his mother.”
“A wise son” is a young adult whose aim, affections, decisions, and
lifestyle correspond to and demonstrate love for the Lord and faithfulness to
His Word. In contrast, “a foolish son” rejects the Lord and lives a
self-centered, self-fulfilling life. No matter how great your earthly
accomplishments may be, your life is a waste if you reject Lord.
Godly parents teach, train, discipline, and admonish their children in the Lord’s ways. They know the blessings of following the Lord and the perils of living by one’s own understanding (9:10-18). Children can be taught, trained, and encouraged to fear of the Lord, but theymust decide whether to follow Christ or reject him.
What joy and gladness godly parents have when their children love the
Lord! What heartache and sadness they have when their children don’t!
Children are often told they can be and do whatever they want. No, they
can’t! They shouldn’t be taught this, they should be taught to fear the Lord!
That is the way of foolishness, bringing them only sorrow, trouble, and death,
and grief to godly parents. Young person, your choices don’t just affect you, they affect generations
(parents, grandparents, your children and grandchildren).
Young person, it’s always been “popular” to reject godly parents’ instruction and guidance, but who loves you, the world, or your parents?
Young people, think—how do your parents feel about what you say, do, dress, who and what you like, what you read, listen to, and watch? Do they rejoice, or are they pained? They care—do you?
Parents, what are you teaching and training your children toward? It’s not just what you say to them, but also how you live before them. Do you consider the long-term effects of your parenting?
Parents, how do you feel if your children are warm to the things of the world and cold to the things of the Lord? What are you doing about it?
It may seem nit-picky to start with this little phrase, but God wanted it there (2 Pet 1:21). Every word is “God-breathed,” essential for godly living (2 Tim 3:16-17). So, before diving into the hundreds of proverbs, let’s review and remember some essential things about the book from this opening statement.
First, these are proverbs:compact statements giving biblical wisdom.Wisdom is taught through these: the correct, skillful application of the fear of the Lord to daily life. The fear of the Lord is reverent belief in the God of the Bible, exclusively loving, obeying, and worshiping the One you will give an account to. As you read these proverbs, don’t forget that they are “compact statements.” They don’t tell everything about a subject, what could or couldn’t happen, nor are they iron-clad guarantees. They describe what normally is the case, so be wise and do as instructed!
As “the proverbs of Solomon” read
them from his perspective. These aren’t your grandma’s memorable cute or quaint
little sayings; they’re based
on and teach the wisdom of the Mosaic Law, God’s revealed truth given to God’s
covenant people Israel. The Law addressed all of life in that nation God ruled
through a human mediator, in this case, King Solomon. When Israel obeyed God’s
Law, they would experience his blessing in every area of life; as they
disobeyed, God’s curse would likewise be experienced (see Deut 28).
Do you view the Bible as God’s Word?
How should that affect your attitude, approach, and response to it?
What is the end purpose of God’s Word (2 Tim
3:16-17)? Is that your goal?
What are you doing toward
Work hard at understanding Scripture correctly. The
more you read and study, the better you’ll understand and more correctly apply
it. Right application always follows right